Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 07/15/2022
Production Company: Sony Pictures Releasing

Daisy Edgar-Jones, David Strathairn, Taylor John Smith,
Harris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt and Sterling Macer, Jr.

Director: Olivia Newan. Screenwriters: Delia Owens (Novel" Where The Crawdads Sing") and Lucy Alibar. Producers: Veronica Moonhill, Lauren Levy Neustadter, Shannon Vayo, Bryan Yaconelli. Executive Producers: Reese Witherspoon, Betsy Danbury, Rhonda Fehr, and Jon Wu.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

LATE REVIEW-- "Where the Crawdads Sing," the new movie adapted from Delia Owens' 2018 best-selling novel of the same name, is a twisty murder mystery that starts a bit slow and rocky but gets better as it rolls along.

Directed by Olivia Newman ("First Match") and working off a screenplay by Lucy Alibar ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), "Where the Crawdads Sing" benefits greatly from its lead star Daisy Edgar-Jones (TV's "War of the Worlds" and "Normal People"). It also helps to have big names attached to it like Reese Witherspoon--who co-executive produced the film--and Taylor Swift who sings the film’s original song “Carolina."

While I haven't read the book, after seeing the movie, I can't help but wonder how much creative license was taken, if any, and whether it is faithful to the novel. Even so, "Where the Crawdads Sing" is a sappy and often corny love story that is set during the late 1950s in the marshlands of North Carolina.

It centers around little Catherine "Kya" Clark, (played first by a sensational JoJo Regina, TV's "The Chosen"). Kya lives in a shack with her mother, (Ahna O'Reilly "Match" and TV's "Bull"), older siblings and her alcoholic/abusive father (Garret Dillahunt, "Ambulance") I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the dynamic performance from Regina. This youngster is definitely one to watch.

Kya's father is so unbearable that everyone winds up leaving the house. He does too. Poor Kya, now seven years’ old, is left to fend for herself and is called "The Marsh Girl" by some of the mean-spirited townsfolk in Barkley Cove. Considering Kya's circumstances, she does surprisingly well. She's able to collect mussels from the marsh and sell them to local store owners Mabel (Michael Hyatt, "The Little Things") and James "Jumpin" Madison (Sterling Macer Jr.,"Double Down"). They are two of the nicest people that Kya meets, and they take an interest in her and try to protect her as best they can. It's too bad that Hyatt and Macer Jr's characters are given short shrift.

The film is often shown through flashbacks, and we see Kya at various stages. When she gets older, she becomes romantically involved with her childhood friend, Tate (Taylor John Smith, "The Outpost") who is also genuinely nice to her. It's here that the movie really settles in, and we think bigger and better things are in store for Kya. Tate and Kya share a love of writing, reading, and they just have fun together. But when Tate goes away to college and promises he will return, but doesn't, Kya feels abandoned once again. She later falls for Chase (Harris Dickinson, "The King's Man"), a high school football quarterback who everyone loves. Their relationship starts out promising too, until it's not.

When Chase turns up dead, Kya is the prime suspect. Everyone wants this young girl jailed except for Tom Milton, a retired and easy-going lawyer (the always great David Strathairn, "Nomadland" and "Nightmare Alley"). He's willing to take her case if only she'll open up to him about who she really is. Kya does, but it's still an uphill battle to prove her innocence even with this sharp suited legal eagle by her side.

However, there is a big twist near the end of "Where the Crawdads Sing," that will grab you and is what makes this slow-moving drama really sing.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.

Watch This Trailer For "WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Year Released: 1971
Running Time: 73
Production Company: Screen Gems/Sony
Director: Buzz Kulik
Director of Photography: Joseph F. Biroc
Screenwriter: William Blinn
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: In honor of legendary actor James Caan who died July 6 at age 82, is re-running part of its Old School Video Pick review of "Brian's Song" which Caan starred in as Chicago Bears football great Brian Piccolo.

By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs, Editor-In-Chief

"Brian's Song" tells the remarkable story of the friendship between Piccolo and Gayle...
Prior to his movie and television career, James Caan made his Broadway debut alongside Peter Fonda and Darren McGavin in which 1961 Broadway play?
Blood, Sweat and Stanley"
“The Best Man"